3 And Out – Thoughts From Week 9 In The NFL

Swiss Cheese O-Lines

In all my years of watching football, I’ve never seen offensive line play as poorly as we saw with Arizona and Philadelphia.

For those who are foreign to the battle in football’s trenches, offensive linemen in pass protection have to identify the proper defender to block, and then execute the block.

The Cardinals have been decent at identifying the proper pass rushers, but simply lack the talent and ability to maintain their blocks for more than a second.  Cardinals QB’s have been sacked 41 times in 9 games.  That’s 12 more than any other ball club.

The Cardinals keep making offseason moves to satisfy the demands of Larry Fitzgerald.  First it was bringing in Kevin Kolb at QB.  Then it was drafting WR Michael Floyd to draw some coverage away from him.  They have neglected the offensive line for too long and it eliminates the Cardinals ability to do anything on offense.

The Eagles have suffered a rash of injuries, so part of their poor play can be attributed to bad luck. But with that being said, they can’t even get the identification part right.

Too often Philadelphia linemen are left blocking air while a pass rusher comes free in another gap.  Offensive lines have slide and pop calls to account for zone blitzes and tricky fronts.  At the NFL level it’s embarrassing that these players consistently fail to get this stuff right.

If the Eagles really think Nick Foles is the future, they shouldn’t play him this entire season.  At least Vick can move to take some of the punch away from hits.  Foles will be a sitting duck.

Should I Stay or Should I Go

Chan Gailey – When Gailey arrived he hitched his wagon to Ryan Fitzpatrick.  It hasn’t worked out and although the Bills offense hasn’t been the overriding problem, the team has underperformed.  This team needs a defensive minded head coach and a rookie QB.  It’s time to change.

Pack your bags!

Rex Ryan – In last week’s Sports Illustrated players poll, Ryan was voted the most overrated coach.  That means his seat is getting warmer.  Rex is a good coach and his players like playing for him.  His problem is all the stuff that happens before kickoff and after the final whistle.  They need to fire the GM, ditch Sanchez and Tebow then build from the ground up.  Ryan needs a dose of humble pie, but not a pink slip.

Hang in there!

Romeo Crennel – This is his second kick at the can and it’s pretty clear he isn’t the right man for the job.  Sometimes great coordinators are not great head coaches.  Romeo is a perfect example; although it’s interesting to point out he makes a much better interim head coach, than actual head coach.

Pack your bags!

Norv Turner – Great coordinator.  Turner gets production out of his offense, but hasn’t been able to seriously contend.  Their championship window closed with the departure of LaDanian Tomlinson.  It just seems like they need a shakeup to breathe new life into a stale franchise.

Pack your bags!

Andy Reid – It’s not like Reid forgot how to coach, but his team isn’t responding.  Aside from strapping on the pads and playing offensive line himself, Reid can only stand and watch as his season slips away.  Great career in Philly.  It’s time for a change.

Pack your bags!

Ken Whisenhunt – The Cardinals have a solid defense and a handful of offensive skilled players that are serious threats.  It’s amazing what neglecting the offensive line will do to an otherwise sound team. There is currently too much indecision from Whisenhunt on who the QB is.

Pack your bags!

Pat Shurmur is likely a casualty of a change of ownership at the end of the season and Jason Garrett should probably switch spots with Rob Ryan.  The Cowboys need some swagger at the top.  Let Garrett coordinate.

Halftime Awards

MVP: Matt Ryan

On his heels: Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady

Others are in the discussion, but going undefeated is the X-factor.

Offensive Player: Adrian Peterson

On his heels: Reggie Wayne, Brandon Marshall

Defensive Player: JJ Watt

On his heels: Charles Tillman

Since the MVP is usually a QB award, I prefer to pick a positional guy for the OPOY award and Peterson’s 5.7 yards per carry mark is MVP worthy.  JJ Watt has been dominant, but Charles Tillman is closing the gap.

Offensive Rookie: Robert Griffin III

On his heels: Andrew Luck, Doug Martin

Defensive Rookie: Casey Hayward

On his heels: Luke Kuechly, Bruce Irvin

Luck and Doug Martin have been impressive, but through 8 games Griffin’s performance warrants the award.  Rarely do rookie corners have an immediate impact.  Passes thrown at Hayward are only completed 47.4% of the time and yield an 18.4 QB rating.

Comeback Player of the Year: Peyton Manning

On his heels: Adrian Peterson

Peterson and Manning should share the OPOY and CPOY awards.

Coach of the Year: Mike Smith

On his heels: Gary Kubiak, Lovie Smith

Undefeated trumps all, but Smith has rallied this team from a disappointing 2011.



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